Gary Clark Jr. is done being just the blues guitarist staple at your neighborhood music festival. Yes, his sold-out show at The Anthem had a lot of that, but so were some the most political and direct lyrics Clark has ever written. Two-thirds of his set was devoted to his new album This Land, whose title track includes these lyrics:
We don't want, we don’t want your kind
We think you’s a dog born
Fuck you, I'm America’s son
This is where I come from
Though he didn’t offer much in the way of stage banter, his music spoke volumes. Of course, Clark knows that the people still want guitar solos, so he doled them out in healthy amounts. An otherworldly spirit consumed Clark during these moments, like on the slow-burning “I Got My Eyes On You (Locked & Loaded)” and an extended version of “Our Love” - his grimaces and furious expressions say it all. Clark channeled the spirit of the blues in every strum and guitar lick - the pain, the protest, and the hope for a better future - and blended it with sounds like dub music (“Feelin’ Like a Million”) and even Ramones-era punk rock (“Gotta Get Into Something”) to create something that no longer fits into the “sweltering hot summer day” festival slot. He’s one of the best blues guitarists in the world and a lot more.
This Land is available now through Warner Bros. Records.
Opening for Gary Clark Jr. were The Peterson Brothers. Their debut album of the same name is available through Blue Point Records